I recently saw an advertisement by an organization claiming to be working against illegal gambling in Kentucky. In this ad, the organization refers to small businesses that operate skill games as predators and suggests that we are affiliated with organized crime and violence.
My family-owned business, B.J. Novelty, has provided Kentucky with the best in amusement and entertainment for over 60 years. Based in Northern Kentucky but serving areas all over the Commonwealth, we have built a strong foundation of trust, communication, and reliability with our customers and the communities we serve.
That is why it is not only offensive to hear these remarks – it’s heartbreaking.
In addition to other entertainment games we offer, such as darts and Golden Tee, we also offer skill games. Skill games are legal games that require a player to use their skill – such as memory, concentration, and knowledge of the game – to win.
Those who oppose skill games, for reasons I cannot understand, would like the public to think we are operating in seedy underground basements, hidden from public view. I am here to tell you that is simply not the case.
You have likely seen skill games in many restaurants, pool halls, fraternal organizations, and other small family-run businesses you frequent. Skill games are simply an additional entertainment offering that patrons can play and enjoy.
More importantly, skill games generate additional revenue for small businesses in a tough economy. At a time when costs are rising while margins stay slim, restaurants and fraternal organizations need all the help they can get.
Another false claim I hear is that skill games impact charitable gaming operations. It’s important to note that even proponents for charitable gaming have mentioned how those games are outdated and rife with government red tape and fines.
Skill games are not what is holding charitable gaming back. If anything, skill games could generate additional revenue for charitable gaming organizations, giving them even more opportunities to support the missions they care about.
Skill games are legal and with additional regulation could do even more good for Kentucky.
I am a proud member of the Kentucky Merchants and Amusement Coalition (KY MAC) an organization of over 350 small businesses looking to regulate skill games. We urge our lawmakers to support a regulatory bill that would protect small businesses, generate tax revenue for the state, and eliminate actual illegal gambling.
Our bill would put measures in place to make it easier for law enforcement to identify and crack down on illegal slot machines.
Anyone who is truly seeking to stop illegal gambling in Kentucky would support a regulatory bill on skill games. Unless of course, their real goal is to slander small businesses.
Are the owners of the neighborhood restaurant where your family gathers to share a meal after a long day, criminals?
Are the mom-and-pop shop billiard halls where our friends get together to shoot pool and catch up, mafia members?
Are the VFW and American Legion Commanders working to create a community for our veterans, predators?
I don’t know about you, I certainly do not think so.
I ask anyone who supports Kentucky small businesses to contact your legislators. Tell them to support the regulation and taxation of skill games.
Kama J. Reed is Vice President of BJ Novelty, a local entertainment business based in Northern Kentucky
Originally published at NKY Tribune